- Streaming services can be categorized into video-on-demand and live TV.
- Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are the dominant streaming services on the market right now.
- When choosing a service, consider your content tastes, device compatibility, streaming device limits and pricing.
The digital streaming market has grown exponentially in recent years, with most network and media companies venturing in. Today, there are more people streaming TV shows and movies than those paying for cable TV. With a fast broadband connection and a high-quality streaming device, you can now watch live news, sports, and original content on the go for a reasonable monthly fee.
If you are looking to cut ties with your cable provider in favor of streaming alternatives, you should pick the option with the best value. However, there are many options to choose from, and you will likely be left wondering which option is right for you.To help you make a decision, here are the top streaming services.
Best streaming service overall
Netflix started in the late 90s as a DVD-by-mail rental service, but adapted to grow to be the biggest streaming service. It provides unlimited streaming of TV shows – both old and new favourites, as well as originals – movies, comedy specials and more for a monthly fee. Since launching its original content in 2013, Netflix’s originals library now has a huge collection of award-winning shows such as The Crown, House of Cards, Master of None, CoComelon, and The Queen’s Gambit.
Although Netflix has lost a couple of shows to other streaming services such as Friends (to HBO Max), it continues adding new shows and specials every week. You can expect to see more original series, films, and documentaries than its competitors. If you are looking for binge-worthy content, Netflix is a great choice.
- Basic: $8.99/month
- Standard: $13.99/month
- Premium: $17.99/month
- Huge selection
- Multi-device support
- Great original content
- Requires a fast internet speed
2. Amazon Prime Video
Best for Amazon Prime perks
Amazon Prime Video is second only to Netflix and has an impressive catalog of movies, TV shows, and original programming. Some of the popular shows on Amazon Prime Video include Jack Ryan, Bosch, Tales from the Loop, Hunters, Hanna, The Marvelous Mrs Maisil, The Boys, and The Expanse. This streaming service also gets new additions frequently.
Amazon provides access to the streaming service in two ways: an Amazon Prime subscription or Amazon Video subscription. An Amazon Prime subscription includes access to Amazon Music and Prime Video, kindle book downloads, and free two-day shipping on Amazon purchases. You can also get just an Amazon Prime Video subscription.
- Amazon Prime: $12.99/month
- Amazon Prime Video: $8.99/month
- Excellent selection of movies and shows
- Access to other Amazon prime services
- Amazon original shows
- Big collection of kid-friendly content
- Not available on all platforms
Best streaming service for families
Disney+ was launched in 2019, and it is one of the youngest streaming services on the market. It hosts popular blockbusters like Avengers Infinity War, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, The Simpsons, and National Geographic. Disney+ is also the home to originals like WandaVision, The Mandalorian, The Falcon, and the Winter Soldier.
At $7.99 per month, Disney+ is among the cheapest VOD streaming services you can find, and the package includes 4K streaming and HDR color. You can also bundle the Disney+ subscription with ESPN+ and Hulu for $13.99 per month. It supports up to four device streams and up to seven customizable profiles.
- Disney+: $7.99/month or $79.99 annually
- Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu Bundle: $13.99/month
- Reasonable pricing
- 4K and HDR included in the standard plan
- Large library of Disney movies and shows
- Not all Disney content is available
- Less variety than other streaming services
Best value for your money
Hulu offers both on-demand and live streaming services. It gives you access to over 75 live and on-demand channels like CNN, ESPN, and others. Hulu is also home to popular shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, Nine Perfect Strangers and Saturday Night Live.
Hulu’s on-demand streaming plan starts at $5.99 per month, but you will have to sit through commercials. You can subscribe to the ad-free monthly package for double the price, or add live TV for $65 per month. It allows two devices to stream and up to six profiles.
- Hulu: $5.99/month
- Hulu with no ads: $11.99/month
- Hulu+ Live TV: $64.99/month
- Incredible pricing if you can tolerate commercials
- Good selection of TV shows
- Quality movie library
- Frequent commercials
5. HBO Max
Best for those who want to watch only Warner Brother content
HBO Max packs all the content that HBO had, and it tops up a lot more. It has a huge catalog of content that people love, include HBO’s favorites like the Lord of Rings, Sesame Street, The White Lotus, Game of Thrones, and Succession. It adds more content such as The Flight Attendant, Made for Love, Wonder Woman 1984, and The Big Bang Theory. It is also home to comedy specials and documentaries.
HBO Max subscription allows you to stream content on up to three devices.
- HBO Max (with ads): $9.99/month
- HBO Max (no ads): $14.99/month
- Top-tier movies
- Award-winning shows and shows library
- Exceptional original movies
- 4K limited to a few titles
- No free trial
Best streaming service with free plan
If you have a very limited budget, you can subscribe to Peacock’s ad-supported free plan to watch up to 13,000 hours of shows, live sports, movies, and news. However, there is better content if you upgrade to the $5 per month premium plan with ads or the $10 per month premium plus plan with no ads.
Peacock has a host of good original shows, movies, and sporting events like The Office, Blacklist, Brave New World, Yellowstone, WWE events, and live Premier League Matches.
- Peacock Basic: Free
- Peacock Premium: $4.99/month
- Peacock Premium Plus: $9.99/month
- Flexible pricing
- Live sports on paid plans
- 4k not supported yet
- No offline watching or downloads
- Few original series or movies
7. Paramount Plus
Best for classic TV shows
Paramount Plus launched in March 2021 as a rebrand of CBS All Access. It has a large catalog of movies and shows from CBS, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and The Smithsonian Channel. It has a growing selection of shows and movies with a handful of originals like The Stand, The Good Fight, and Why Women Kill. It also has a great collection of Star Wars content, including Star Trek: Discovery and Picard.
- Paramount+ Essential Service: $4.99
- Paramount+ Premium Service: $9.99
- Competitive pricing
- Live news available
- A broad selection of content
- Basic plan does not support 4K resolution
- Content library is still small compared to competitors
8. Sling TV
Best for those used to paying for cable
Sling TV is an inexpensive option for replacing cable TV with and is considered a good option for the cord-cutting generation. It gives you affordable options for watching live sports, breaking news, and entertainment as they happen. You can access top TV channels such as ESPN, Comedy Central, CNN, and BBCAmerica in the Sling Basic plan.
There are two Sling TV tiers: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Sling Orange is a sport and family-oriented plan, and you get access to ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN 3. The Sling Blue plan is news and entertainment-oriented, and you can watch channels like FX, USA, and Discovery. You can buy other add-ons such as Hollywood Extra, Kids Extra, and NBA TV at an extra fee. Sling also offers a free plan (no credit card required) to watch over 5000 on-demand series and pre-programmed content.
- Sling Orange: $35/month
- Sling Blue: $35/month
- Sling Blue + Sling Orange: $50/month
- Free streaming available
- Live TV shows
- Affordable pricing for on-demand TV
- Extra fees for add-ons
- Limited content
9. Apple TV+
Best for Apple users
Apple TV+ is one of the most affordable streaming services with 4K and no-ads at $4.99 per month. However, this subscription only gives you access to Apple’s originals. Unlike top streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, Apple TV+ has a lean library, but is home to originals such as Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Central Park, All Mankind, and Home Before Dark.
You can get the Apple TV+ streaming service when you purchase a new iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, or Apple TV. You can also get Apple TV+ when you subscribe to an Apple One bundle.
- Apple TV+: $4.99/month
- Supports up to six devices
- Supports 4K and HDR
- Free subscription with Apple devices
- A growing list of original shows
- Limited library currently
- Not available on Android devices
10. Fubo TV
Best for sports fanatics
If you are a cord-cutter sports fan looking to access live sports streaming, Fubo TV is your best bet. Its starter plan gives you access to over 120 channels including popular and lesser-known sports channels such as the Olympics Channel, beIN Sports, The Big Ten Networks, Fox Sports, NBC, ESPN, and CBS.
Whether you want to watch live European Soccer, NBA, Motorcycle Racing, or hockey games, you can be sure to find a channel on Fubo TV. One of Fubo TV’s flaws is its DVR cloud storage, which is limited to 250 hours.
- Starter Plan: $64.99/month
- Pro Plan: $69.99/month
- Elite Plan: $79.99/month
- Niche sports network
- Robust collection of sports channels
- Mix of sports and live news
- Some channels not available
How to Choose Streaming Services
When comparing streaming services, consider the following factors:
What type of content do you like watching? If you are into binge-watching original content, a subscription on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu is probably your best bet. If you are looking for kid-friendly content, check out Disney+. For sports coverage, you should compare Sling TV and Fubo TV to see the variety of sport coverage each offers.
Device compatibility and location
Before buying a streaming service, you should check if the service is compatible with your streaming device. Some services may not be available for all devices and in all parts of the world.
Device and profile limits
Services limit the number of devices that can be streaming at the same time and profiles per account. For example, if a streaming service limits simultaneous streaming to two devices, you cannot stream to a third screen at the same time.
Most streaming services have monthly billing, but some offer a discount if you pay ahead for a full year. Either way, you should know how much you’ll be paying beforehand. Although it is unlikely that the streaming service will introduce hidden fees, check for add-on services ahead of time, just to be safe.